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home : readerswrite : readerswrite February 5, 2016

Hug a tree with me


Rooted in the earth, yet reaching for the sky, while providing shelter for those who seek it, trees inspire and comfort me.
-- Lynn Miller

by Lynn Miller


It was a sunny, fresh spring day following a winter that seemed endless. What a great day to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world's largest tree hug at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

There's a certain feeling about people coming together to accomplish something. I love to collaborate! And this tree-hugging event required collaboration to succeed.

Enjoying the colorful new growth of spring flowers, I strolled over to the tree-hugging area and added my name to the list of participants.

To my delight, the magnolias were in bloom. I noticed a woman with one arm around a baby girl and one around a tree, with another young girl standing by her side. Everywhere I looked, I saw people embracing trees of all kinds, timing their hugs to last the required 60 seconds.

I took my turn with one of the magnolias, breathing in its sweet perfume while having a commemorative photo snapped.

But I have a confession to make.

I was not a virgin tree hugger. There's a special place I go where it has become traditional for me to hug a pine tree, choosing a different one each time. I love their unique smell, and I feel a special affinity for them. By hugging them, I can connect and show my appreciation for their presence and contributions to the planet.

What would we do without trees? No one could call me a rugged outdoorswoman, but I grew up roaming the woods near my childhood home for hours at a time, and that feeling of being at home among trees stayed with me.

Perhaps the young girls I saw will grow to agree with the poet Joyce Kilmer in believing "... that [they] shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree."

I know that, rooted in the earth, yet reaching for the sky, while providing shelter for those who seek it, trees inspire and comfort me.

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I can't say for sure why others were drawn to the tree-hugging event. I only know that 935 people of all ages took time to participate. Though the previous record was 702, the arboretum is still wading through the process of being named the new record holder, and I hope it is.

Record or not, it was a fun event, and I see more tree hugs in my future.

Lynn Miller lives in Minnetonka and is now retired, giving her more time to hug trees.

FFI: www.arboretum.umn.edu

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